Turin-based Eataly has proven to be a massive success since its first opening in Torina. Now, the Italian-focused megastore boasts nearly 30 franchises around the world. Its latest venture? The much-anticipated FICO Eataly World, the world’s first gourmet theme park.
Operated by Fabrica Italiana Contadina (FICO), which dedicates itself to Italian food education and sustainability, the S$145 million theme park is set to open in Bologna in Italy on 15 November this year. For pasta, ravioli and risotto lovers around the globe, it probably sounds like a dream come true.
Although dubbed as a ‘theme park’, Eataly World is probably best described as a celebration of Italian cuisine. The sprawling 20-acre complex in Bologna, Italy, will be home to 108,000 square feet of orchards, pastures and gardens — including six rides, 40 workshops, and 25 restaurants and food stalls.
And like all other 35 Eataly locations around the world from Italy to Japan, Eataly World will boast a robust market full of Italian-made meats, cheeses, pasta and more.
If you prefer exploring the theme park on wheels, there will also be 500 adult-sized tricycles with shopping baskets designed by celebrated Italian bike makers Bianchi exclusively for the complex. They are set to be the first hybrid bike/shopping carts in a retail space.
“We created it as a way to efficiently move around, and also to shop,” said CEO Tiziana Primori in an interview with Bloomberg, “Everyone will want one. They’re like the station wagon which was originally built for work but then became everyone’s family car.”
Eataly World will also boast two-and-a-half acres of orchards and farmland, which will include at least 30 kinds of produce from almond trees to eggplants. The grazing land will be home to rabbits, geese, guinea hens, five breeds of pigs, five breeds of goats, five breeds of sheep, as well as nine breeds of cows. Among the latter is Chianina, an Italian breed of cattle that’s the source of bistecca alla Fiorentina (also known as Florentina Steak).
Additionally, a 200-room hotel will also be built within the complex. You know, so you don’t have to travel a long way whilst battling your food coma. The property is only set to open in 2018, though. So you’ll need a Plan B if you’re heading to Eataly World this year.
And of course, what’s a theme park without rides? Don’t expect Disneyland-type rollercoasters, though. The rides at Eataly World are actually enhanced virtual reality attractions located around the property. An example is “Man & Fire,” a multi-part experience which will demonstrate the importance of fire in cooking — and where you’ll experience the feeling of being thrown into the fire (sans burning, hopefully).
Here’s the good news: Entry into the theme park is free. Eataly World is expected to draw six million tourists annually, two million of which will be foreigners.